Lexington Cemetery is the final home for nearly 90 Civil War Veterans. We will point out a few soldier markers and you will notice many more on your drive. In SECTION 1 remember Ephraim Edwards, an Englishman brought to America, became an orphan in Ohio, served in Co. A 49 th Ohio Vol. Inf. and was one of the most wounded soldiers to survive the war. Another previous mention on our tour was J.P. Curry (log marker) who served in Co E 3 rd Regiment of the West Virginia Inf. On the same lot is George Michael Hefner, born to Peter and Betsy Hefner in 1846, joined Co C of the 94 th Illinois as a teenager and marched off to the war, which quickly made many Lexington boys into men!
In SECTION 2 look for the Woods boys…Absalom Wood, son of Amos, fought with Co K of IL 26 th Vol Inf and came home to be a carpenter, marry and raise a family, live and die in Lexington, the place he called HOME. A soldier named Allen Wood served in the famous 94 th IL Inf. and is buried with a government Civil War stone near Absalom, but sadly we know NOTHNG about him, not even his birth or death date. Isaac Wood, another veteran of Co. C 94 th IL Inf, son of Capt. James Wood, returned home to be a telegraph operator for the C&A RR at Godfrey, Il where an accident with exploding gasoline caused his early death at age 30, leaving his widow and 2 year old child to bring him home to Lexington for burial on the family lot.
In SECTION 3 think of a family sending 3 sons to war. Jacob Hiser, left his wife and 4 children to ride off with Co. I 16 th IL Cav. After many battles he was captured and held, but managed to escape from deadly Andersonville Prison, famous for few living escapees. He made it back to Lexington, to be forever noted in local Civil War tales.
If you want to hear more of his story, ask Norm Hiser, his great-great-grandson! Jacob’s teenaged brother, Francis Hiser, joined Co. K of 145 th IL Inf, survived the war, came home to marry Lucy Jenkins and raise a family, and is buried near brother Jacob. The 3 rd brother, George Hiser, is way over in section 7…so more on him later.
In SECTION 4 you might be surprised to find Daniel Smith, a former slave who joined the Union Army in New Orleans and became an Orderly for Bloomington physician Dr. G.W. Stipp. After the war he returned to Illinois with the doctor and settled in Lexington as a barber for 18 years before his death. He left a wife and 4 children.
A SECTION 5 soldier fought for the Confederacy – only one of about 10 buried in the Lexington area. Joshua Franklin Shotwell fought with Co. L 10 th Virginia Inf and moved to Illinois after the war to make Lexington his hometown. He was well thought of in Lexington where he and his large family spent the rest of their lives.
Alfred Bennett Scrogin, son of John Scrogin, joined Co. C IL 77 th Inf Regiment where he fought several battles before he was badly injured and had to return home to the family farm near Ballard to recuperate.
SECTION 6 has the marker of Corpl James Noah Bray, younger brother of Britannia Bray VanDolah, a soldier in Co. K 8 th IL Vol Inf and who sadly was killed in a battle at Fort Donnelson Kentucky and brought home to be buried here with his family at the young age of 22 years. Look for him in the VanDolah Family Plot 6-35.
In SECTION 7 you can’t miss the marker for George Washington Hiser, the third Hiser brother to go off to the Civil War. He fought long and hard with Co. G 68 th Inf, but made the most impact after he returned to Lexington. George became a Lexington businessman and community leader, and he was also founder of Lexington’s G.A.R. “Grand Army of the Republic” a veteran’s organization of Civil War soldiers. He also directed the placement of
the large monument to the Unknown Soldier at the east end of Main Street in Lexington’s City Park.
In SECTION 8 find a tall marker of John Russell “Honest John” Edwards, another teenage soldier, of Indiana’s 26 th Vol Inf, who became a prisoner of war in Alabama, was traded back at the end of the war(he was 15), and often told a tale of meeting Abe Lincoln during the war. Eventually “Honest John” made his home here to raise his family of 8 children. He is notable as the last known Civil War veteran of Lexington, passing away in 1938, 73 years after the end of the war, thus ending the era of the living Civil War Veterans in Lexington, Illinois.
Graphic is a 1973 reprint from the Bloomington Pantagraph of Miles Ward of Lexington Legion 291 placing a flag at the marker of Civil War Veteran Daniel Smith for Memorial Day.
Open to the Public ALERT
THE FORT is again open to the public after being closed for over a year due to the virus shutdown rules.
Open Wednesday - Friday - Saturday
9am to 2pm
Call or email for appointment if needed.
During the winter months our volunteers try their best to open THE FORT regularly, but if the conditions warrant precautions, please call ahead to be sure we are open. If schools are closed, THE FORT is probably closed, too!